O'Neil Funeral Home (London) Limited
350 William Street
London, ON N6B 3C7
519 - 432 - 7136
Your Right to Privacy and the Funeral Director’s Proof of Death Certificate
With the passage of the “Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act” by the Federal Government, and in compliance with the older Ontario “Vital Statistics Act”, and due to the rise of the crime known as “Identity Theft”, we believe it is important to let you know how and why we collect and handle personal information.
It is our duty and obligation under law to collect personal information so that a death may be properly registered with the Province of Ontario. All information collected is strictly confidential. We may ask to see original documents such as birth certificates or passports in order to ensure accuracy and compliance with law. We can only release this information with the direct consent of the executor of the estate, or the immediate next of kin who arranged the funeral, or their immediate descendant in the case of the death of the original next of kin.
It is common to release some information, such as in a newspaper notice which may contain a listing of next of kin, a memorial card or a clergy record which may by way of example contain the date and place of birth, or after a person has been deceased for a period of 75 or more years, we may release dates and locations of birth and death for genealogical research. Even in these circumstances, we only release that information as authorised and directed to do so by the executor or next of kin. For example, not all families request a newspaper notice, or some families prefer to have date and/or place of birth left off a memorial card.
It is important for families to realize that any and all information they place into any newspaper notice, in hard copy such as a newspaper, or in print on a web site of any kind, instantly become public domain knowledge. Therefore we caution all families to consider carefully exactly what information they wish to release to the public domain.
Information not included in a newspaper notice can be released without family consent only under very strict circumstances, as outlined in the “Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act” . ( The following words in italic are copied directly from the Government of Canada website)
Organizations may disclose personal information without the individual’s knowledge or consent only:
- to a lawyer representing the organization
- to collect a debt the individual owes to the organization
- to comply with a subpoena, a warrant or an order made by a court or other body with appropriate jurisdiction
- to a government institution that has requested the information, identified its lawful authority, and indicates that
disclosure is for the purpose of enforcing, carrying out an investigation, or gathering intelligence relating to any federal,
provincial or foreign law; or suspects that the information relates to national security or the conduct of international
affairs; or is for the purpose of administering any federal or provincial law
In order to comply with the “Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act” and the “Vital Statistics Act” before it, and in consultation with our Solicitors, past and present, our policy for the past 40 years is to handle Proof of Death Certificates, or in the absence of the certificate, any personal information of any fmaily we deal with, in the following manner:
1) Proof of Death Certificates are released only directly to the executor, or in the absence of an executor, the immediate next of kin, at the time of the Funeral;
2) In cases where the City of London Social Services or the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee pays for the funeral service, by law we can only release Proof of Death Certificates to the Social Services Department of the City of London, or the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee , who at their discretion may release a copy to the family;
3) Any person or organization who claims to represent the executor or next of kin, such as a law firm or a trust company, will be denied any and all access until we have evidence of their right to this certificate in written form;
4) Proof of Death Certificates may be released to somebody other than the executor or next of kin if it can be shown the former are either deceased or incapacitated, and that the person making the request is the legal next of kin after the original;
5) Proof of Death Certificates are NEVER released for genealogical research. If you need help with genealogical research, please see our Genealogy link off the main web page;
6) Under request from government, a Proof of Death Certificate may be released to a municipal, provincial or federal department of government for specific use. Past examples of this are municipal Social Services departments when paying for a funeral, or the Office of the Crown Attorney when closing the file of a person previously charged with a criminal offense;
7) Proof of Death Certificates of Canadian citizens are never released to any foreign government, with the exception of when human remains are transported outside Canada and onto the soil of that specific foreign government.
8) Proof of Death Certificates may be issued to the executor or next of kin months or years after a death has occurred, subject to a waiting period of two business days, and a fee, as outlined by the current price list at the time of request.
Information in the Public Domain
When a death occurs, the following facts are considered public information:
1) Date of death - if known;
2) Place of death, in a general sense. For example, we are able to say somebody died at a local hospital, but we cannot say which room or under what circumstances;
3) Final disposition. For example, we can say somebody was buried at St. Peter’s Cemetery or cremated at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, but we cannot give any more information beyond that point without permission;
4) Next of Kin. We are able to confirm who the next of kin and / or executor of a deceased is, but we cannot relate any details of the next of kin including address, phone number, etc. We can however at times forward messages to the next of kin or executor if you need to contact them.
5) Information on a memorial card, prayer card or newspaper notice, as stated above, is usually considered information released to the public domain, so again, we advise caution on what you wish to say.
Another caution to all families is to be careful what is said at an eulogy. While we would never repeat anything heard said at an eulogy, even during what may be termed a “private funeral”, there is a vast grey area in law over whether or not comments made at an eulogy become public knowledge or not. Our advise is to err on the side of caution when making personal remarks about a deceased family member, for you may never know exactly who is listening, or is recording your comments.
Two of our staff are genealogists, and if you need assistance researching family history, we might be able to provide you with some small help in directing you to sources of public domain information.
If you have any further questions, you are welcome to contact us.
This Document Copyright © 2014, O’Neil Funeral Home (London) Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
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